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The Art of Hype
By: Jennifer Stack
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Hype comes in many different forms. My favorite way hype materializes is probably the most simplistic form: the buzzword. The art of hype is a statement connector of buzzwords: art and hype. Both of which are subjective and relative depending on the contextualization. Wikipedia, a crowdsourced reference network, defines buzzwords as “a term of art, salesmanship, politics, or technical jargon[1] that is used in the media and wider society outside of its originally narrow technical context.” Definitions range from industry to corporate level and career path. A Creative Director approaches the term completely differently than a Media Planner and the Accounts team perceives the concept somewhere in between. Likewise, perceptions and definitions of buzzwords change with age and life experience.
 
Today the most popular buzzwords are gamification, transmedia, integrated, digital, social ecosystem, and ROI. The modern digital culture enables acronyms to easily morph into buzzwords; just Google “SOMOLO” ( SOcial, MObile, LOcal).  These words are used interchangeably and indefinitely to provide answers for questions that are not always indivisible of one. Buzzwords have associations of grandeur some marketers find the term essential to their presentations, reports, and articles. Others banish them from their agencies, POVs, and pitches. Best practices firmly in place, there is a time and a place for the employment of buzzwords. The industry colloquial works best in resumes and SEO-based networks like LinkedIn or Google. Employing buzzwords during interviews in which you are showcasing your understanding and range within the marketing/PR/advertising agency has its benefits because they are generally in the vocabulary of seasoned veterans. As well, buzzwords serve their purpose when illustrating a point in an interview or referencing the strength of a concept or insight.
 
Today’s industry start-up culture is the perfect storm to facilitate buzzword creation as it is always hungry for new and novel terminology and hot to coin any new phrase or concept, which can be materialized first.  The environment is right, but should you be adding inventing buzzwords to your objectives? The answer is relative, depending on your field and career goals. Individuals responsible for buzzword creation, especially those that reach critical mass and mainstream use, are usually highly respected industry thought leaders. The art of the buzzword lies in a complex idea that can both be simplified and amplified at the same time. The buzzword must be easy enough to understand conceptually but also flexible and vast enough to expand far enough to answer any broad marketing/PR/advertising/Communication questions as they relate to Strategy, Psychology, and various executional elements.


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About the Author
Jennifer Stack is a Social Media Strategist at a digital advertising agency. She was a 2011 Notable.ca YP Social Media Finalist. International Marketing Communication, MA. International Marketing Strategy, MSc. LinkedIn + Twitter.
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